Meeting Mr RuddPosted: Tuesday 31 May 2011
The great thing about Actors at Work and travelling the country is the often random experiences that come your way out on the road.
After a couple of weeks touring Brisbane, Hervey Bay the Gold Coast and Lismore, the four of us were heading to Bendigo, via Sydney and Melbourne. It was a long day of travel ahead of us and the last thing we expected, was to run into one of Bell Shakespeare’s greatest supporters at the Lismore Airport.
While buying coffee and food at the Airport café, we heard the whisper that our ex- (26th) Prime Minister, our current Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mr. Kevin Rudd was flying in on the very plane we’d be taking out!
The plane lands, Mr. Rudd walks towards the terminal, sweeping his hair aside and within seconds Kat and Belinda had built up the guts to approach him for a brief chat. I couldn’t resist the opportunity either! And a brief chat seemed to be the least he could do for us. This is one of the only times I’ve had a chin-wag with one of Australia’s politicians and here he was, giving us a moment or two of his time before heading towards his day’s agenda.
Here is a man that has supported the arts for a long time and notably Bell Shakespeare! For the 2010 production of King Lear, Mr. Rudd was generous enough to offer a congratulations and best wishes letter, which appeared in the official 20th anniversary souvenir program of the touring production starring John Bell.
Here he was at Lismore airport and here he was showing a genuine interest in our pursuits. He asked us where the tour was taking us and commented that “Bell Shakespeare do such wonderful work in education, keep it up!” When he asked me what role I played, I told him of one, Macbeth. “Oooo”, says Mr. Rudd, “I hope your Lady Macbeth isn’t too hard to handle!” Clearly a smart man, with great knowledge of these wonderful Elizabethan texts!
We each had our photos taken which he was more than happy to appear in, giving us each souvenirs for life. He was gracious, friendly, completely hospitable and without doubt, one of the highlights of the tour for us 4. We were giddy for the rest of the day.
I feel the need to write him a letter, saying thank you and perhaps inviting him to a schools show to show him exactly what Actors at Work is up to this year. I’ve no doubt that our Foreign Minister is a very busy man, but something about his nature told me it’s the first thing he’d do if he had the time!
WHAT A HIGHLIGHT!!
When we checked our bags in at Lismore airport on Sat morning the airport staff told us that K.Rudd was due to fly in on the plane that we would then fly back out on to Sydney. We figured that if it was true that he was coming he’d rush through the terminal and on his way to his conference. But, just in case, I bought the newspaper so I could look intelligent. Then when he arrived, he collected his wheelie bag, came up to us in the airport and introduced himself. I said I’m Belinda and he said “G’day Bel”, and he shook Kat and my hands. He loves Shakespeare and said that nothing beats the Bard, and wanted to know what shows we were doing.